Aug 29

The Hit List: Sedona

In an effort to share my travels with you in a more timely fashion, I’m trying out a new column: The Hit List. It’s a fast and dirty rundown highlighting what I’ve uncovered in different destinations. Not meant to be a comprehensive guide, it’s simply a list of recommendations to hit on your itinerary if you go–in a similar vein to the Daily Dose. After all, my first impulse to write about travel came from wanting a few good restaurant and bar recommendations in San Francisco many years ago. So I present you with the first installment of The Hit List… Sedona. 


The road leading to Verde Valley School.


I recently returned from a week at the inaugural Sedona Summer Artist Colony at the Verde Valley School in the Village of Oak Creek. It was my first time in the high desert of Arizona’s Red Rocks and the experience was pretty magical. I spent the week hiking through energy vortexes, exploring Sedona’s New Age-y side and getting to know a diverse cross section of artists from across the country.


Daniel & Yona entertaining the group at a farewell party for the Sedona Summer Artist Colony.



At first I was a little nervous to set off on long hikes in the desert alone, but I quickly tapped into my Wild (á la Cheryl Strayed) side and relished in the solitude surrounded by this otherworldly nature.


The view approaching Chicken Point.


Little Horse + Chapel – approx. 4.8 miles – This trail is part of the Bell Rock Pathway with crazy views at the end at Chicken Point. I also tacked on the Chapel trail, which takes you to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a Modernist church built in the middle of the desert mountains.


Views up to Cathedral at the creek.


Baldwin to the Creek – The Colony was located right by a creek for swimming with views to Cathedral. I went with my new buddies Ashley and Chris.


At the peaks of Cathedral.


Cathedral – approx. 1.4 miles – This is pretty monumental, more of a climb than a hike, up the side of the Cathedral rock energy vortex with an incredible payoff at the top.


On Devil’s Bridge.


Devil’s Bridge – approx. 4 miles – Once you arrive, the name is pretty self-explanatory.


My heart-shaped rock with the masculine energy vortex at Boynton Vista in the background.


Boynton Canyon + Vista – approx. 8 miles – My friend Betsy tipped me off to this hike, where she said a man along the trail plays the flute and gives heart shaped rocks to people he meets. After a long hike through the canyon forest and back with big yellow butterflies following me, I scaled the vista, hearing the sounds of the flute in the distance. When I reached the top, I looked up to see a man with a thick white mustache. He greeted me: “Welcome, you’ve reached the point of two powerful energy vortexes, the masculine over here and the divine feminine, Kachina. Soak it all in and spread the love.” Then, he handed me a heart-shaped rock and made his way down the trail.


Elote – Upscale Mexican in a laidback atmosphere.


Bomb town huevos rancheros at Coffee Pot.


Coffee Pot – Okay, I loved this place. It’s a cross between a funky diner and a Mexican restaurant. They’re known for their 101 omelettes, but I was on a huevos rancheros kick. After my five mile Litte Horse hike, I was famished. I added chorizo and avocado, plus a side of hash browns, coffee and fresh-squeezed OJ. Heaven.

Local Juicery – Self explanatory.

Chocolate Tree – A chocolaterie/Vegan restaurant. I ordered a ginger lemonade with a shot of wheat grass and the Sedona 2012 wrap, which is basically a Vegan chimichanga. It was delicious and filling. They also have blue corn “se’donuts” baked with coconut oil and maple syrup for dessert, which were kind of gross/good.

New Age-y Stuff

Mystical BazaarIn Sedona, there are more “sacred lights” and “healing arts” centers on the side of the road than you can shake a stick at (whatever that means). And, yes, I stopped in all of them. Ultimately, my energy drew me to the Mystical Bazaar where the woman covered in glitter behind the counter explained that her healers approach their readings without ego, working with abundant white light and accessing the higher angels. Sold. I had my chakras balanced and learned that my third chakra, the solar plexus, has trouble firing up, keeping me from experiencing true joy. Other than that I’m fine.

Crystal Magic – Crystal shops have also run amok in Sedona and Crystal Magic was my favorite. I bought some rose quartz for myself, hoping to attract love, and picked out crystals for my friends that I intuitively matched to their auras.


The Amitabha Stupa.


Amitabha Stupa – I popped into the McLean Meditation Institute right before a monsoon swept across the red rocks, and I was tipped off to a Buddhist stupa in the middle of the desert. What, you might ask, is a Buddhist stupa? It’s an alter with a little baby Buddha on it that you walk around three times praying for peace and the end of world suffering. I loved it.

PHX Stopover

Sedona’s a two-hour drive from Phoenix where I flew in. Here’s a couple of bomb breakfast spots.


Eggs and rellenos at Richardson’s. This was so good!


Richardson’s – My bros Tommy & Casey took me to Richardson’s, a New Mexican restaurant, where I ordered one beef and one cheese chili relleno with eggs over easy, hashbrowns and beans smothered in a green chili sauce. Out of control delicious.

Snooze, an AM Eatery – I had huevos rancheros here.

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